The overnight viewing figures are in for Christmas Day and "Doctor Who" performed well, pulling in an audience of 9.4 million, being beaten only by "EastEnders"! That's slightly more than Paul McGann's debut in 1996 but a little under Christopher Eccleston's earlier this year. It was a sensible move to schedule "The Christmas Invasion" for broadcast actually on Christmas Day rather than in its regular slot of Saturday evening, when its potential audience might still have been engaged in last-minute Christmas shopping!!
The story began on Christmas Eve so there may well have been a temptation to put it out on Saturday at 7pm instead of Sunday. It occured to me, while watching the BBC THREE repeats of episodes three and four of series one on Tuesday night, that we've already had a perfectly good Christmas special earlier in the year in the shape of "The Unquiet Dead". This story was also set on Christmas Eve but in 1869 as opposed to the present day and, while I'm on the subject, the current four-part serial on BBC 7, "The Chimes of Midnight", is also set on Christmas Eve, on this occasion at the beginning of the twentieth century. So, Doctors eight, nine and ten have all visited Christmas Eve! It's getting to be a habit!!
It's hard to form an opinion on David Tennant's interpretation of the role just yet because he didn't really enter the fray until the last twenty minutes of the hourlong episode but he does look very promising. I shall wait until the end of the next series before making up my mind as my opinion of Chris Eccleston's Doctor has grown more and more favourable the more I watch him.
I will say that David's sword fight with the Sycorax leader put me in mind of Jon Pertwee's Doctor, specifically the fencing sequence with Roger Delgado's Master in "The Sea Devils", while the undermining of his enemy with humour was obviously inspired by Tom Baker's portrayal. The new Doctor's reaction to the Prime Minister's destruction of the retreating Sycorax vessel was also that of Jon Pertwee's to the brigadier's annihilation of "The Silurians". I was reminded of Chris Eccleston's Doctor's disposal of Cassandra, in "The End of the World", in David Tennant's final dispatch of the enemy leader as the pyjama-clad hero walked detachedly away with the words "no second chances".
Only a few minor quibbles! I found Camille Coduri's voice very shrill in the Christmas tree sequence and I thought the signposting of the upcoming BBC THREE spin-off series, "Torchwood", a bit heavy-handed. I enjoyed the teaser for the second series, at the end of the episode, and I guessed the final shot would be that of a Cyberman! The design of the cat people, from next year's opening episode "New Earth", looks good on brief acquaintance and it will be interesting to compare it to the cheetahs from Sylvester McCoy's finale "Survival". David's debut was a nice present from the BBC and, despite recording it, watching the repeat should provide everyone with a happy New Year.